Human resources management

Selection system

At Iren Group, the process of searching and selecting human resources is based on the principles of equity and transparency, which are also declared in the Code of Ethics, and is structured in compliance with the Model 231. Candidates are recruited from outside the Group only after it has been verified that there are no potential internal candidates with profiles that are consistent with the position to be filled.

Applications for open positions can be made via the channels on which the active searches are published: the “IrenFutura“ portal, the “jobs“ page of the Group’s LinkedIn profile, specialist recruitment websites (Infojobs), social media pages and specialised channels using recruiting agencies appointed by Iren following specific tenders, on the basis of specific reference profiles (operational, technical, specialist and managerial). Candidates can select the position that best meets their skills and interests or submit their application, without attaching it to a specific job posting.

Other candidates may come from the main universities and schools in the reference territories, with which the Group has built solid partnerships over time. As far as high schools and technical institutes are concerned, mutual acquaintance between the Group and candidates can also take place through “Percorsi per le Competenze Trasversali e l’Orientamento“ (PCTO, formerly School-Work programmes), which allow young girls and boys to experience more closely daily working life in existing jobs within the various Group companies.

All candidates are assessed by professionals with experience in the sector, based on well-defined and transparent criteria, which are shared between the Company Departments involved, taking the Group’s system of roles and competences as a reference. Every curriculum vitae is assessed on the basis of how well it matches the requirements of the vacant position. If the profile meets these requirements, it is included in the selection process; otherwise, it may be taken into consideration for other relevant positions.

The selection processes may include various types of tests (technical, practical, etc.), as well as interviews, in order to gain in-depth knowledge of applicants and to guarantee fairness and transparency. The standard selection process involves a number of pre-defined steps: identification of the most suitable profiles from the submitted CVs; an initial interview to find out the candidate’s reasons for applying and discuss the experience indicated on the CV in more detail; a second interview with representatives from the HR Department and organisational departments where the candidate is to be placed. At the end of the selection process, the applicants always receive feedback on the outcome of the interviews, even in case of a negative outcome. In the event of a positive outcome, the new employee is hired into the Company according to a process defined on the basis of the position to be covered.

The Group has joined the national programme Garanzia Giovani (Youth Guarantee), activating the planned internships as the preferred search and contact tool with the labour market, and the Valore D (D Value) programme, committing itself to creating more equal conditions to promote diversity and employment for women.


Personnel development

To implement its strategy, successfully anticipating and facing the complexity and changes of the market, regulations and technologies, Iren Group invests in order to increase the wealth of internal skills and enhance its human resources, adopting specific policies, means and tools. Discovering, developing and promoting personnel skills is a fundamental commitment of the agreement between the Company and the individual.

In order to govern all the processes connected to personnel management and development in a unified and systematic way, faced with the dual necessity of addressing the new challenges of the future and preparing consistent policies, the Group has put in place its own performance management model, the Group Job System, which is subject to constant update and refinement. The Job System is a model to analyse and understand the professional skills present within the Group, transversally across companies, businesses and departments in which they are found. Their main elements consist of professional areas, professional groups, the subgroups, standard jobs and organisational roles. It is the logical infrastructure on which the main human resource management processes, including training and skills development, are based. Specifically, each standard job within the Job System is weighed, in relation to the contribution that each organisational role provides in the creation of value, with a shared platform for internal comparison, as well as with the market. Management “bands” (groupings) are identified on the basis of the weight of the positions, and are further divided into sections, into which each of the roles are characterised by the same complexities and responsibilities, managerial skills and management policies. The managerial skills that must be put into effect in order to achieve results in accordance with the procedures and values that characterise the Group, and which constitute supportive elements in evaluating individual performance, are defined alongside the band system adopted. The expected professional knowledge and skills are also defined for each standard job, being those which are fundamental not only for the performance management system, but also for other personnel management processes (first and foremost, training and internal mobility).

In 2021, skill-monitoring activities continued, through dedicated tools differentiated both by band and professional group. In particular, an extensive mapping project of the Group’s specialist skills was completed with the various departments and business areas, leading to the identification and description of the theoretical knowledge and practical skills required for various roles and organisational levels. This work resulted in the creation of a catalogue of the Group’s specialist skills, which forms the basis of the skills assessment process, which will take place every two years. The activity to complete the Group’s competency assessment process, launched at the end of 2020, was conducted on 6,728 Group employees, thanks also to the active participation of over 500 managers who acted as evaluators, after being trained on the process and its founding elements (organisational role, competency, expected level, etc.). The assessment phase was followed by an analysis of the competency gaps found, in terms of role, organisational function and even professional family. Based on the defined competency model and the competency evaluation system, a training and professional development plan was then initiated on a two-year basis.

In addition, the performance management system was further refined – aimed at all Group resources – integrated with the individual incentive system (MbO), aimed at orienting performance and behaviour towards shared values and results. During the year, the Group launched various training initiatives aimed at raising the level of awareness of the performance management process: more than 450 new participants were involved in virtual classrooms organised to introduce the system and its founding elements; in addition, training content on the key stages of assigning objectives, assessment and management of the feedback interview was made available in e-learning mode to all participants in the process.

The employability of personnel is pursued through ongoing education and training and change management programmes to support current and planned changes, also in the medium-long term, on which specific actions have been launched to support the implementation of the Business Plan, particularly on matters related to energy transition, circular economy, sustainability and digital transformation.

As part of the overall plan for the demographic rebalancing of the workforce, projects continued for the intergenerational transfer of knowledge and, more generally, for the management of the Group’s different demographic populations.


Personnel training

Training is an instrument of primary importance for the Group. It plays a fundamental role in the professional growth and development of individuals, in disseminating corporate strategies, values, and principles and, therefore, in the overall growth of the Group’s value. It focuses on the maintenance and development of competencies, with particular reference to the “core“ competencies of the various professional figures, promoting lifelong learning opportunities for everyone.

Staff development is supported by creating experiences and opportunities in which everyone can learn and train their skills and increase their awareness of their role within the Group. This path to growth begins immediately, with the Onboarding programme dedicated to new hires. The welcoming starts from the moment the contract is signed, with the release of the “ReadyToIren“ app. Next, each new hire is invited to attend the Welcome Webinar, an event where they meet colleagues from the functions of Personnel Management, Attendance, Welfare, Communications, Certified Systems, and Performance and Development. This shared step is essential to begin getting to know the Group and the people in it. In 2021, 20 Welcome Webinars (totalling approximately 2,600 hours) were held to welcome new hires. Such training sessions, extended to everyone, are followed by personalised courses based on the level of responsibility and seniority: the induction courses dedicated to new managers and professionals, useful for introducing new recruits to meet individually with key people for the performance of their activities (in 2021, there were 11 for a total of 123 hours) and the Virtual Learning Meetings, aimed at new graduate colleagues under 35, to allow them to develop their knowledge of the organisation and the Group’s strategic projects (over 1,270 hours in total in 2021). Learning also continues at an individual level, through a specific welcome area made available on the Intranet, where it is possible to find, in addition to informative and popular materials, slides and videos of the courses followed, videos of the management and of the new recruits of the previous years, as well as links to other areas of the Intranet, such as the Library of Online Training, the virtual tours of the main plants, the videos on the Group’s values and the interviews of the Iren People project.

Investments in reskilling and upskilling of personnel have grown over the years in order to carry out training interventions dedicated both to new skills, with the aim of preparing resources to cover different roles within the Group, and on skills already possessed, to improve certain areas of competence, with particular focus on new processes and new technologies.


Training supports development and professional growth, and meets the needs of innovation and change

The launch of the training process, as regards the core competencies of personnel, is carried out through the analysis of competency gaps, at the level of role, organisational function and professional family, detected through the competency assessment process (see page 231). The results of the analysis are shared with managers through specific meetings during which priorities for intervention are assigned to the gaps found, on the basis of their number or the specificity/importance of the activity to which they refer. At the end of the phase of detection and analysis of needs, possible harmonisations between common needs and between homogeneous professional families are implemented.

These needs are included in a two-year training and development plan – with periodic updates based on requests for changes or additions received during the year – which contains technical, specialist, Training supports development and professional growth, and meets the needs of innovation and change managerial and behavioural skills, mandatory training and training on strategic projects.

The management of training is carried out through a dedicated management application (Training Portal), which is updated continuously with employees’ personal data and is connected to an open-source platform of e-learning courses. Participation is tracked and helps to enhance employees’ training qualifications, which can be consulted by employees, their managers, the Personnel Department and the Prevention and Protection Service Manager. The portal is continually enriched with useful functions to automate the various phases of the training process, for example that relating to self-enrolment which allows those directly concerned, or their managers, to choose the date and location of the training courses, which are mainly mandatory, with a view to greater flexibility and on the basis of broad planning that mainly involves initiatives on safety issues. All the training provided is subject to an efficiency evaluation, through participants satisfaction and learning analysis and the monitoring of a set of indicators that provide useful details on improving the training provided; the evaluations will also be enriched by the results deriving from the skills surveys every two years.

The paradigm shift in training: from traditional to virtual classrooms

With the development of new technologies, an evolution towards digital transformation and the spread of the pandemic, training in Iren Group has changed paradigm, moving from traditional classroom training to the use of new methods that are able to offer a greater degree of flexibility, usability and personalisation, reaching and engaging even people who work remotely, such as virtual classrooms and webinars, which have been added to the asynchronous e-learning already in use. The virtual classrooms have been used, during the pandemic period, for training in support of strategic digital transformation projects (Iren- Way, Market transformation, JustIren, WFM).

The emergency highlighted the need to accompany training linked to specific professional aspects with opportunities for growth, including personal ones, as a sign of attention and closeness to employees: values, emotions and trust were considered fundamental enablers to master this phase of uncertainty. For this reason, alongside the mandatory training, free consultation training was made available, accessible to all employees through their own IT equipment (PCs, tablets and smartphones). The selected contents were clustered in 9 areas (Iren Group, Iren4Digital, smart working, managerial development, a demanding challenge, a challenge in safety, personal care, transversal skills, diversity & inclusion), in the library “Online Training“ on the Group’s Intranet. Employees were thus able to enrich their curriculum, an opportunity also recalled by the union agreements signed in relation to the health emergency.

The Group also continued to invest in training plans through specific programmes to increase awareness of diversity topics and create an inclusive work environment (see paragraph Diversity & Inclusion).

In 2021, the live sessions dedicated to the illustration of the strategic lines of the Business Plan to 2030 were particularly appreciated, with the participation in-person of about 300 managers and the live streaming on the company intranet of more than 2,000 people.

Simultaneously, online courses continued to be held for specific groups of employees (e.g., apprentices) on safety and regulatory requirements (e.g., for workers, supervisors and managers, Italian Legislative Decree 231, GDPR).

In line with the policies adopted by the Group for cybersecurity, the Security Awareness project was developed and, in 2021, offered employees a series of “free use“ training modules aimed at increasing awareness and knowledge of IT security issues, thus making it possible to reduce the risk of system violations as well as computer fraud in work and private life. The project also involved, through specific training, the top management, who is essential to convey the culture of IT security, risk assessment and mitigation at all levels of the organisation.

Training hours totals by qualification 2021 2020 2019
Managers 3,272 2,172 1,665
Junior managers 8,477 7,846 6,975
White-collar workers 95,929 98,455 69,342
Blue-collar workers 95,468 93,616 67,253
Total 203,146 202,089 145,235


In a year still heavily impacted by the pandemic, total training hours provided to employees (including apprentices and contract workers) were more than 203,100, up from 2020 and the historical trend, and reflecting the actions taken to turn the health emergency into an opportunity for professional enrichment. The average number of training hours per capita, equal to 23 hours, is however influenced by the gradual application of Group policies to the companies acquired at the end of 2020 and in 2021, which have produced a significant increase in the number of employees.

human resources

There was a significant increase in the number of employees who took part in at least one training initiative, totalling 8,328 (+14.3% compared with the previous year), in line with the Group’s philosophy of accompanying resources throughout their working lives (life-long learning). The percentage of trained workers is particularly positive, rising from 73% in 2020 to 86% in 2021, thanks to the intense work of acculturation to the use of the new training methods.

Employees involved in training activities (%)1 2021 2020 2019
Managers 100.0 100.0 100.0
Junior managers 100.0 100.0 100.0
White collar workers 100.0 100.0 95.9
Blue-collar workers 86.0 73.0 75.0
Total 94.2 88.2 85.4

1Ratio between number of people involved in at least one training event and the average annual number of employees.


In 2021, specialist training (including specialist IT) was still relevant, with an average per capita of 10 hours, recording the highest incidence (43.7%) of the total number of hours provided. This includes on-the-job training and support for more than 600 apprentices, consolidated partnerships with specialised training institutions for the provision of technical refresher courses to maintain training credits for engineers, biologists, chemists and experts, with business schools and higher education institutions for participation in master’s degrees and specialised courses, as well as with organisations specialising in professional training (e.g., for qualification to operate steam generators and for mandatory transversal training for apprentices).

Regarding managerial training, which represents 8.3% of the total number of hours, particular mention should be made of the completion of the “Melagioco“ path for leadership development, aimed at 119 managers, the skills assessment for a further 183 managerial figures who will be involved in the new initiative planned for 2022, the webinars and video conferences held on managerial/soft skills and scenario issues, as well as the mentoring, coaching, empowerment and leadership initiatives for women for Industry 4.0 aimed at promoting gender equality.

Internal training, characterised by the ad hoc design of content and carried out by both internal trainers and external consultants, continues to be a distinctive feature of the Group (around 72% of total hours), with 971 courses held in 3,939 sessions. The remaining 28% relates to external training and is purchased by catalogue with participation in inter-company initiatives.

Both the satisfaction index of the training activities (81.3% compared to 79% in 2020), measured on the evaluations made by the participants at the end of the activity, and the learning index (88.9% compared to 88.4% in 2020), measured through the administration of verifications and skill tests, are growing. These results depend on a strong attention to the design of the training contents and the constant support to the participants, especially during the remote sessions.

The investment in training in 2021 of approximately 1,028,000 Euro reflects the significant interventions made in the area of specialised and safety training.

The Group has also made its expertise available to schools and universities in the areas in which it operates to create work orientation initiatives for students, advanced training courses and Pathways for Transversal Competencies and Orientation (PCTO, formerly School-Work programmes). Implementation agreements have been signed with universities, mainly present in the reference areas, aimed at activating collaborations for higher education activities, including the creation of 3 research doctorates funded by the Group, and for the recruitment of recent graduates and undergraduates. Partnerships have been launched with the leading Italian business schools, providing scholarships for participants in master’s degrees and/or advanced training courses on topics of specific interest to the Group (e.g. energy management). The Group has also collaborated with the Higher Technical Institutes in the reference territory, making its employees available to provide lessons on specific topics and activating internship and recruitment paths.

Although measures to deal with the Covid-19 emergency prevented many activities from being carried out, during 2021, the Group:

  • created webinars and participated in some career days with partner universities, through thematic and job orientation meetings, in which students had the opportunity to get to know the reality of Iren Group more closely and improve their knowledge of the world of work and the skills sought by the Group;
  • organised multi-year projects and recruiting days for graduating seniors from affiliated technical high schools;
  • launched 33 curricular, 28 extracurricular and 21 internships in the framework of PCTO projects;
  • activated scholarships for postgraduate masters, and doctoral training paths.


Remuneration system

The Group adopts national collective labour agreements (CCNL) for all its employees (the main national collective labour agreements applied include: “electricity sector employees”, “gas and water sector employees”, “waste management services employees”), which ensure contractual salaries are paid to all employees. Generally, workers with leasing contracts receive the same remuneration as provided for in contracts of Group employees. Furthermore, no differences in benefits for full-time employees, employees with fixed-term contracts or part-time employees exist.

Group employees receive national collective labour agreements and incentive tools in line with company values

The remuneration policy, within the context of the defined budget guidelines, is always based on performance evaluation, taking into account, however, the remuneration package of the people holding the evaluated positions. In any case, any form of discrimination based on gender, age and/or health shall be avoided, and retraining initiatives are performed in the event that personnel are unfit for previous responsibilities.

Variable remuneration linked to performance (for example, employees working on call) and the achievement of company and individual targets is added to fixed remuneration. In 2021, the ratio of the highest annual basic salary to the median of all other employees is 4.75, while the ratio of the increase in the highest basic salary to the median basic salary increase of all other employees is -6.23. The negative trend is due to the inclusion in the 2021 boundary of the companies of the former Environment Division of Unieco, acquired at the end of 2020, and the acquisition of the company Bosch Energy and Building Solutions Italy, which have CCNLs (Metalmechanical, Fise and Chemical Industry) with lower salary levels than those applied to the rest of the Group’s historical personnel. The Group’s average basic salary by gender is 1.05 compared to the average local salary by gender (Source: Istat 31/12/2018).

The remuneration and meritocratic policy of the Group aims to reward employees who achieve high levels of results in line with company values, the Group Job System (see page 230) and in accordance with adequate levels of quality and productivity. Personnel are required to be flexible in adapting to new working methods and to demonstrate remarkable professional commitment in terms of versatility.

Performance bonuses. In order to further involve staff and direct them towards the achievement of the Group’s objectives, a collective performance bonus is envisaged, according to logics consistent with the strategic and management objectives, which enhance the correlation between remuneration and results obtained. Several factors are taken into account to determine the compensation, which are connected to rewarding productivity, service levels and the achievement of specific profitability objectives. Once again, in 2021, specific agreements were signed on the subject with Trade Unions based on which bonuses may be paid in the form of one-off compensation or via welfare tools to non-management personnel. Also in 2021, part of the Performance Bonus was consolidated for the current workforce, allocating an additional contribution towards the supplementary pension fund for new hires.

One-off compensation. Across all Group Companies a one-off incentive can be paid to employees that have achieved particularly positive results through remarkable work commitment, mainly through projects or innovative activities. Individuals to be rewarded are identified following a thorough analysis of individual performance results, carried out by the various managers.

Management by objectives system (MbO). In most Group Companies, all managers, junior managers and employees holding important positions are included in the incentive system (pay for results) under which individual targets are assigned that, when achieved, grant the payment of the amounts that were defined at the time of assignment. The “objective-based system” is based on the measurable indicators (economic-financial, operative, sustainability or relevant to strategic projects), in line with the Business Plan and the company mission.

In 2021, 53% of employees received a formal evaluation of the performance achieved, a percentage that was essentially stable compared to last year as the process is being gradually extended to newly acquired companies. The performance assessment process involves the assignment of objectives, a mid-year assessment, an end-of-year assessment and, for certain employees (about 3,610 in 2021), the process is managed through a software.

people evaluated

The amounts for variable remuneration are shown in the table below.

Variable remuneration (Euro/000) 2021 2020 2019
Performance bonuses 12,464 9,581 9,626
Mb01 4,687 4,148 3,829
One-off compensation1 1,645 4,468 4,534

1 Amounts allocated.